SINGLE RELEASE: Hozier – ‘Movement’
WORDS BY BENJAMIN CASSIDY
The latest offering from the man, the voice, Hozier, has what’s already become his trademark. A haunting atmosphere, provided by the jingled melodies, fused with poetic lyrics (a little reminiscent of Seal — specifically, ‘Kiss from a Rose’). The song certainly feels personal, and although it may be a generic love song, the emotion in his strong and sensitive voice is telling of experience. It’s a yearning of sorts. Perhaps a struggle with love and the seeming entitlement that others seem to think they have to offer blessings, or, vehement disapproval. This song offers an insight into privacy, by invitation to fans, who feel no need or right to pass judgement on the private affairs of the artist (other than happiness at his happiness).
During a live performance, a rehearsal gig, in Dublin, Hozier played the song having requested no audio or video be taken, as it was the first time it was heard. His wishes were respected. Sometime later, not long after, Hozier gave his blessing for the song to be shared. Some may feel this was a clever PR trick, deliberately orchestrated. Whatever the case, involving the fans, by directly engaging with them as a part of the process that sees music released creates a sense of belonging and being a part of something. A collaboration of sorts, between speaker and listener. One thing is true for sure, he’s certainly no shortage of fans. This is an artist going from strength to strength. His new single shows that.
Romance and biblical imagery are plentiful in this ‘Movement’, released in mid-November. Aspects of autobiographical details are clear. This is also apparent by the production, that like many songs of his has the feeling of a hymn. Hozier uses what’s his most powerful instrument – that angelic vocal of his – to draw listeners in and want to hear more. The way he delivers his music is as if he’s some sort of ancient, wandering minstrel who is part of oral story telling tradition. Another example of his upbringing. However, what he manages is to be every bit the modern-day troubadour, using intricate string arrangements and simple hand claps to build a mood. His clever arrangement adds drama to the fold.
As the song plays out, the ethereal, choral harmony pulls every bit of attention from listeners, making a crescendo to what is a very strong piece of musical performance. Honesty and raw talent, combined with lyrics that don’t give everything away at first make this a track that demands to be listened to again, with the lyrics in front of you. It offers something different than much of what’s being released commercially, currently. It’s a fine example of an artist that’s building a repertoire of songs that are distinctive, yet, individual. ‘Movement’, shows that you don’t need to re-invent the wheel, just put your own spin on tried and tested themes and concepts that people will always be interested to hear of. It’s a deeply poignant song that manages to capture in under four minutes complexity, intensity and heartfelt sincerity. No doubt, his next album, due early 2019 will offer more of the same; his fans will no doubt be counting the days to find out.